With the new Amateur League season set to get under way tomorrow, www.larnetimes.co.uk has been taking a look at each of our local teams ahead of Saturday’s big kick-off. Today we focus on Premier Division side Islandmagee.
The club’s management team remains intact with boss Stephen Donald, Sammy Smith (first-team coach) and Colin Moore (goalkeeper coach) taking charge of a youthful Wilbourne Park outfit this year.
Perhaps the most notable news at Islandmagee came with striker Andy Waide’s departure to rivals Larne Tech. Experienced defender Scott Cowie also left the club, heading back to his old stomping ground at Brookvale Park to link up with Wellington Rec while his defensive partner, Neil McKnight, has joined Barn.
Goalkeeper Simon Steele signed for Championship 1 side Carrick Rangers but will have to be on top of his game if he is to get the nod ahead of Robert Robinson.
With four out the door, Donald has brought in some young blood in the form of Jordan Rainey from Carrick Rangers, winger Nathan Orr and Chris Harris from Barn.
“We will have a young set-up this year and I have told the lads we are going to have a season of consolidation and we will build from there,” said the Island boss.
Opening fixtures: Kilmore Rec (h); Shankill United (h)
Players in: Nathan Orr, M, Greenisland; Chris Harris, D, Barn United; Colin Young, M, Grove United; Jordan Rainey, CF, CRFC; Tyson Gray, D.
Players out: Andy Waide, S, Larne Tech; Scott Cowie, D, Wellington Rec; Simon Steele, GK, Carrick Rangers; Neil McKnight, D, Barn United.
Key player: Michael Moore.
Last season: 3rd in Premier Division, 44 points (26 games)
Prospects: Island have lost some big-hitters during the summer but Stephen Donald is keen to give youth a chance and knows it may well take a while for his new-look team to gel. They have been there, or thereabouts, in the Premier for a while, so you can never write them off.